A gun explodes and kills
nothing , the hunter missed. The bullet
falls on the other side
of the lake by my feet
it’s broken and flared. My voice –
‘Is this an arrow head?’
Dad looks across the lake
‘Is it from the civil war?’
Dad takes it from my hand
‘Can we shoot them?’
“Who?”, he asks.
I light the wick of the fire
work with my hands
watch it burn north
The 4th explodes over the lake
I’m in its red, white & blue
When they ooo, when they aaa
It’s for me
On Sunday it’s loud
the lake sound
because they don’t shoot
The other boy loaded the truck with an automatic, two pistols, and a shotgun he’d bought at walmart supercenter and waited for the next day when he’d drive to school after his friend called in a bomb threat. Riverbend High School would be outside waiting.
He posted on twitter, Judgement Day. The court gave him 20.
Next bomb threat I waited for the road to explode, not the school.
Dad went out over the lake to die
With a rifle | Siren song
(in)to his head
It was a toy
Not because it was a toy
But because he played with his life
North is up and south is down when you’re young and haven’t been told otherwise.
Bullets go up and they come down at your feet, but never norther.
I go up with the fireworks, they never come down, they become the sky.
The sound of the sky is the sound of God; he says, don’t shoot on my day and they hear him over the fire
I had to leave Virginia after the near shooting because I couldn’t look away from the road. That’s not true; it’s just that fireworks didn’t look anymore they only sounded and sound is never still.
Wasn’t I supposed to learn that toys can kill people?
West is left and south is wrong when you’re older and have been told otherwise.
I go up and I never come down because there’s a child on the other side of the lake.
The above is a collection of poems meant to explore my own relationship with the cultures I’ve grown up and been exposed to. I’m working through my experience with southern gun culture, the prevalence of gun violence in my life (or near violence!), and how, living in a more liberal part of California, that culture exists in a state of conflict. It’s a look at the things that make us who we are; the good and the bad that crafts us. Can we escape where we came from? Should we? Can we love the parts of our history that have also harmed us?